Taiwan opposition party DPP to block reciprocal offices with China

Main opposition party says it will reject draft legislation that would allow semi-official bodies to open branches in Taiwan and on mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 June, 2013, 7:09am

Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has pledged to stop Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou from allowing cross-strait semi-official organisations to set up reciprocal branch offices.

Joseph Wu Jau-shieh, executive director of the DPP's Policy Research Committee, said on Wednesday his party would propose a resolution rejecting draft legislation that would enable the mainland's semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (Arats) to open a branch office in Taiwan. Arats' counterpart in Taipei, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), also wants to open a mainland office.

The island's ruling Kuomintang said yesterday - after a summit between President Xi Jinping , in the capacity of Communist Party chief, and KMT honorary chairman Wu Poh-hsiung - that it would negotiate with opposition parties to remove the political barriers to establishing reciprocal offices.

"It is just like when we promoted the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement [ECFA]. We faced many difficulties in Taiwan, and the opposition parties boycotted it in a high-profile manner. But in the end we overcame the difficulties and signed the agreement, " the Kuomintang's statement said. The EFCA was signed in 2010.

But Joseph Wu was quoted by the pro-independence Liberal Times yesterday as saying: "The DPP is worried about … whether the [Arats] branch in Taipei would play the same role as the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, which would mean that Taiwan recognises that it is part of [the People's Republic of] China."

He was also quoted as saying that Ma's political stance on cross-strait affairs - that of "one Republic of China, two areas" - did not reflect the status quo in Taiwan, and that it would bring "permanent harm" to the island's future development in the international community. "For [Taiwan's] political positioning, the DPP believes that there is no grey area, because there's no way to accept the Hong Kong model," he said.

On Wednesday, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council reiterated that the island's relationship with the mainland was based on the Constitution of the Republic of China, not on Beijing's "one-China principle". It also stressed that, under the constitution, mainland China is part of the ROC, and both Beijing and Taipei "do not recognise each other's sovereignty but do not deny each other's jurisdiction".

Pro-DPP commentator Wang Hsing-ching, who writes under the name Nanfang Shuo, said that interpretation was "out of date" and unconvincing. Wang also claimed that "Ma's so-called Beijing-friendly cross-strait policies benefit only some financial cliques and big families."